Make the Most of Your Summer Job

A summer job is a rite of passage for many students. School’s out, you’re old enough to work (not to mention old enough to drive to work), and you could use some cash. Enter the summer job. The most obvious benefit of summer work is the money you earn. If you plan well and work hard, you can reap many benefits beyond your paycheck.

Build Your Network

You’ve probably heard the term networking in the context of career development and job searching. This summer job you’ve got is a great place to start networking, and you definitely should do so. Having a well-developed network can mean the difference between a relatively short job search and a long period of unemployment.

What’s a network? In this case, it’s anyone you know who might be able to help you professionally. Family members, friends…and former managers and colleagues. The great part is that your network connects you to their network, too, so in a sense you know people you don’t even know. And who knows—some of the people might be hiring for just the kind of work you’re looking for.

Secure Excellent References

Former managers make the best references, no doubt. Don’t discount your boss from your summer job when it’s time to list references. If you’ve done a good job and your manager is familiar with your work, they might be willing to tell future employers how great you are!

The key to this, of course, is to be great: have stellar attendance, be perfectly punctual, work hard, show initiative, prove you’re dependable. Tepid or terrible references do more harm than good.

Develop Opportunities for Future Work

When August rolls around and school starts again, you may need to leave your summer job behind to focus on your studies. If you liked the work and they liked you, you might be able to come back when you’ve got a break from schoolwork. Some businesses need holiday help, and summer will be back before you know it.

Moving away for school? If you worked for a chain or franchise, check and see if there’s one in your new town. Managers love to hire people who are already trained.

To have the best chance to be able to come back, make sure you give two weeks’ notice when you quit.

Enjoy your summer job! Save some money if you can, and set yourself up for future success.

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